The Rise fast food chains such as Chipotle have started to cut out GMOs due to popular demand
Fast food chain Chipotle has, as of Monday 27th April, started to only produce their food using absolutely zero GMOs. Firstly let’s take a look at exactly what GMOs are. GMO is an acronym meaning Genetically Modified Organisms. Quite self-explanatory and they are commonly used in foods and other scientific research.
With people now becoming extremely conscious about what they put in their bodies, they are turning to organic produce. Whilst organic farming differs worldwide it generally means that crops cannot be produced using any synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers unless they are organically approved and used in controlled conditions.
With this rise fast food chains such as Chipotle have started to cut out GMOs due to popular demand and, probably due to market pressure, so have McDonalds. The debate of whether Genetically Modified Organisms are actually harmful to our health, however, rages on. In the UK we have a very well controlled Food Standards Agency in place which tests foreign produce for potentially harmful additives.
It is important to note that they would not let in any produce into the UK that would be harmful, information on this can be found on their website.
The problem Chipotle now have is that due to increased demand for organic produce it has become more expensive and harder to obtain. If they cannot source an ingredient that isn’t a GMO then they cannot produce that product. I truly understand the desire to eat healthy and be healthy; I am myself and do my best to acquire the best quality ingredients where I can.
That is on an individual level however, for restaurants and in particular fast food chains the switch to non-GMO foods will eventually become a big problem for them due to the increase in prices and availability. Therefore it is important to look at the pros and cons of the debate.
Anti-GMO activists largely state that animals are the test subjects to see if GMOs are potentially harmful and their own research suggests that they are. Cancerous tumours as a result are a common problem for example.
This, however, is a theme that runs throughout anti-GMO activist’s research without actually producing any evidence or quotes from scientists. Whilst I agree on the notion of animals being tested on is cruel and abhorrent, there is actually very little evidence to suggest the animals are being harmed as a result of this particular scientific research.
There is, on the other hand, plenty of research conducted in proving that GMOs are actually perfectly safe and as just as healthy as non-GMOs. Linking this back to the fact that our own Food Standards Agency wouldn’t let any harmful GMOs into our country, we could assume that it is absolutely fine to eat them here. Future tests may conclude that they actually could be harmful, but as of right now they seem not to be. Therefore in terms of health, we’re ok…for the time being.
That is just one side of the argument however. There is a debate on whether GMOs are harmful to the environment. Evidence suggests that toxicity could be a problem with regards to non-target organisms, such as bees and wasps and that the long-term effects are currently unknown. This, obviously, is a problem. To control this potential problem is surely a must because I really do not see a future where every single fast food chain or restaurant will agree to only use non-GMO ingredients.
The demand will be too great and the cost too expensive. However if the environmental impacts are proven to be correct, or if they do affect human health in the long term, then people will simply refuse to eat them. This will drive down the cost of them whilst at the same time increasing the cost of non-GMOs until it becomes too much.
That, in a nutshell, is why more and more people are eating organic foods, because of this uncertainty, and until GMOs are scientifically proven to be perfectly safe to humans, animals and, crucially, the environment, it could end up spiralling out of control. Let us hope, which I am sure it probably won’t, it does not come to that.